Goro Miyazaki's New Studio Ghibl Film

Goro Miyazaki is back, and you may be surprised. Comic Natalie reports that Goro has directed an animation short for Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun. Studio Ghibli has created a number of commercials for the newspaper, which can be seen on the the Ghibli Short Short DVD. This latest short will debut August 1 on Japan TV.

It's well known that Goro-san was working on his next directoral film, but I'm sure most of us assumed it would be the formal follow-up to Tales From Earthsea. This move is a surprising development, and, frankly, a welcome one. The young Miyazaki needs to pay his dues properly, instead of merely being dropped into the director's chair like a prince. He needs to learn the skills and develop his own style. Gedo Senki made this all too clear. His role in the future of Ghibli will be crucial, so he needs to get this right.

It helps tremendously that Studio Ghibli does so well with their shorts. Too few Westerners are aware of this side to the studio, which is often more adventurous and experimental than the feature films.

One more important piece of news: Hayao Miyazaki was in charge of production for this short. This is a remarkable development, given the strained relationship between father and son, and again strongly suggests that Goro is being properly tutored by the old masters. Father Miyazaki will not grant a family dynasty for the studio; son Goro will have to earn his father's crown the old-fashioned way. I sincerely hope he directs a few more short films. The experience will do him good.

In case you're wondering, the visual style of this ad is inspired by Japanese manga artist Sugiura Shigura. Isao Takahata paid homage to him in Pom Poko, as I'm sure you can see by that first screenshot. This style is very classical, in keeping with Ghibli's tradition of nostalgia; it also continues the hand-drawn style of Ponyo, rejecting any "computer" look. I'm also reminded of the silent-era cartoons from the Fleischer Bros, which were a great influence on Japanese animators, and Father Miyazaki in particular. I'm really looking forward to seeing this in motion. It's going to be terrific and it may turn a few heads.

It's the hardest thing in the world to follow in the footsteps of a famous parent. For Goro Miyazaki, it's doubly difficult, as both parents were groundbreaking animators, and Hayao Miyazaki has become the biggest filmmaker in the world. Those are very long shadows. But this short demonstrates that he's taking the right steps, making the right moves, and hopefully learning the right lessons. The son is too smart to have Gedo Senki, that childish tantrum of a picture, wrapped around his neck. I'm counting this latest short film as a win for Goro Miyazaki.

Get your Tivo's ready and keep your eyes on Youtube and Daily Motion. I'll have Goro Miyazaki's film online as soon as it's available.

Heartfelt thanks to GhibliWorld for breaking the news to the English-speaking world.

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